KC Light Rail

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Archive for October, 2007

More One KC Transit Meetings

MARC has scheduled more One KC Transit meetings through this month and next, including one this week in Independence and next week in Gladstone:

6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25
Puppetry Arts Institute
11025 E. Winner Road [map] [#24]

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30
Gladstone City Hall
7010 N. Holmes St. [map]

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Citizens’ Light Rail Task Force meeting recap

By Mark Forsythe
The Kansas City Post

Last night's meeting was contentious at times, enlightening at others. The meeting formats have consisted of opening remarks, usually by Greg Lever of the RTA or consultant Vicki Noteis, some legislative updates by Councilman Ed Ford, and then some technical points from somebody on the consultant team. Last night's technical presenter was Ken Kinney of HNTB's Chicago office.

Vicki Noteis gave an explanation of the 12-mile rule. Many of you have asked me why the starter routes put together in the public workshops were restricted to 12 miles. The simple answer is that the consultant team feels the current voter approved plan's 1/8 cent sales tax, bonded over 20 years will generate about $300 million. Matched with an additional $300 million from federal funds, $600 million divided by an average of $50 million per mile gives you about 12 miles.

During Mr. Kinney's comments, several questions were asked. One task force member couldn't seem to understand why we weren't creating a regional transit plan and why we had to work on light rail. Another became very agitated when nobody else seemed to agree with him that any light rail route absolutely had to start at KCI. Eventually the interruptions proved to be too much and a third task force member voiced his objections to the constant interruptions so the rest of us could actually learn something.

The final half of the meeting was spent in breakout groups analyzing potential routes. We concentrated on segments located south of downtown. We pored over maps and demographic data and scored each route segment by ridership potential, traffic impact, development potential, fit with the surrounding neighborhoods' plans, number of activity centers, low-income riders and FTA funding potential.

Next Tuesday's meeting will revolve around technology: light rail, dedicated right-of-way streetcars, or traditional mixed-traffic streetcars. On Monday, Oct. 29, there will be another public input meeting at the downtown Marriott. There will be two sessions: One at 4:30 p.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m. The public will be asked to provide more input on the routes we will have narrowed down to by then. I'll post about that meeting again as the date draws near.


URGENT: Light Rail Public Meetings - 10/29

KCATA will be hosting public meetings on Monday, Oct. 29 at the Downtown Marriott [map] to gather "your input on the ideas and options developed so far." See the invite for more information.


Help guide the Council

Project manager? Check. Committee chair? Check. Task Force? Check. Public forums? Check.

…but one thing is palpably clear, there is still no true champion for light rail in Kansas City. The leadership vacuum leaves the responsibility in your hands: send a message to the mayor and council that you want an alternative plan before the existing Chastain Plan is repealed. Voters clearly don't want the actual Chastain Plan, but it is leverage to keep the Council focused on this issue so they stop making excuses that it's just too complex. We are still hopeful that news like yesterday's Platte County announcement means light rail is still a hot topic, but we've been here before. Taking the lead (vs. simply filling the lead role) is risky, but the payoff for this kind of risk was in plain view at last week's Sprint Center opening… former Mayor Kay Barnes fought the odds on a new tax and garnered the most applause from the crowd, and it will likely pay off even more in her run for Congress.


One KC Transit Meetings

Lee's Summit, Roeland Park, downtown and midtown KCMO are all hosting One KC Transit meetings this week. These are the last sessions to be held. Here's the rundown:

7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15
Lee's Summit City Hall
220 S.E. Green Street [map]

6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16
KCMO Central Library
14 W. 10th Street [map]

6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17
Roeland Park City Hall
4600 W. 51st Street [map]

11:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 18
3215 Main Street, Suite 200 [map]

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Platte County jumps on board

Funkhouser and Platte City mayors.
The mayors of Riverside (pop: 2,979), Parkville (pop: 4,059), Platte City (pop: 3,866), Weatherby Lake (pop: 1,873), Platte Woods (pop: 474), and Lake Waukomis (pop: 917) pledged their support with KCMO Mayor Mark Funkhouser this morning for a regionally-funded transit system that includes light rail. Since the press conference was held just to share that single piece of information, there was little else revealed that would lead anyone to think real progress had just been made. The real news will come from this week's council session where a decision must be made on how to proceed with the repeal of the Chastain Plan and the timing and content of any future vote on the matter. We'd also like to hear if the Platte County mayors are planning to get behind a sales tax increase in their cities to help fund a regional system.

UPDATE: The Star's Prime Buzz has video.
UPDATE 2: Funkhouser's blog has the actual letter from Platte County mayors.


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